2022 Windsor Election Rose City Politics Candidate Questionnaire answers:
1. What is your prior political experience?
I come from a political family and have been involved in local politics since I was a child. I remember canvassing for and being inspired by some incredible leaders in our community, Howard McCurdy, Dave Cassivy, Elizabeth Kishkon to name a few.
I hold an Honours degree from the University of Windsor where I studied Political Science. My first elected position came in my time as Lancer, where I was twice elected to student government.
Additionally, in my time at the University, along with some of student colleagues I created a weekly radio show on CJAM where we discussed political issues. Ultimately this initiative evolved into what is now the premier political analysis media content provider in our region – Rose City Politics (RCP).
One of my proudest achievements is to have founded and contributed over a decade of my life to developing RCP and providing this service to the community.
Prior to graduating I secured a position in Brian Masse’s office, the current Member of Parliament for Windsor West. I worked for Mr. Masse for 12 years in both a Constituency and Policy Development role. Among the many files I’ve had the opportunity to work on include authoring a motion to ban microplastics to protect our Great Lakes (Passed in the House of Commons), fighting and ultimately securing a commitment to include active transportation infrastructure on the Gordie Howe Bridge and working to create a National Urban Park in our region stand out as significant achievements that will have lasting impacts.
Since 2018 I was elected to Windsor City Council, with nearly 65% of the popular vote. I am particularly proud of this achievement as it represents the culmination of developing a sincere and honest relationship with the residents of Ward 9.
In my time as Councillor I have had the opportunity to sit on several Boards and Committees including, The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) as Chair. Additionally, I Chair the Windsor Bicycling Committee and the Transit Advisory Committee, I am a Commissioner for the Windsor Utilities Commission (WUC), Board Member for the Essex Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA) to name a few. These Board assignments have all offered incredible opportunities to advance many community enhancing initiatives including enhancements to both our Active Transportation system and Public Transit, we are on track to implement a regional organics waste diversion program and create redundancy in water supply for residents in Windsor to ensure we always have access to clean water.
2. Why are you running?
I am running to continue the work we began in 2018 to improve quality of life for residents in Ward 9 and across the entire Community. Having lived in the Ward for nearly 20 years and running now in my 3rd election I am acutely aware of the challenges we face in this part of the city. Over the last 4 years we have been successful in addressing many of those challenges particularly as it relates to infrastructure and community public safety. We have a deficit in Windsor’s Southeast as it relates to social infrastructure as well. I have been working to address those challenges as well, significant progress has been made in terms of bringing additional recreational services to the area as well as a community library.
There is much left to be done, I understand the challenges as well as the path forward to address them to further improve quality of life for residents in Ward 9. Together we have been making progress and I am actively engaging residents in that discussion through the electoral process one door at a time.
3. What do you do currently for a living?
I am the Windsor City Councillor for Ward 9.
4. What is the biggest issue affecting the ward you are running for?
Infrastructure is the issue that needs the most specific attention in our Ward. Windsor’s Southeast is seeing exponential growth and will continue to do so for decades ahead. Infrastructure investments have not kept pace with development in this part of the city which has created several problems for area residents that must continue to be addressed. We have seen significant progress on this front in the last few years but there is much that remains to be improved upon.
I understand those needs extremely well and am actively pushing on all fronts for those issues to be understood at both the Council and administrative level. Together we have been making progress.
5. What is the biggest issue affecting the city of Windsor?
Addressing the Housing crisis in our region will be the single biggest task for the incoming Council. Housing touches on so many other aspects of municipal services.
6. Are you seeking any endorsements?
Yes – In particular the endorsement from the residents of Ward 9.
7. Have you received any endorsements?
In 2018 I received the endorsement of 3178 electors in Ward 9 representing 64% of the vote.
8. Will you continue the “hold the line on taxes” policy?
I take issue with this question to some extent. The truth is our Council has been approving modest tax increases over the course of the term and have remained steadfast in our commitment to fund the Asset Management Plan (AMP) throughout the term. The AMP creates a 1.1% property tax increase as a base to address crumbling infrastructure across the City. I do not support a policy of 0% increases for political purposes or sloganeering and take the responsibility of setting our revenue targets extremely seriously.
So, to answer this question, I have never supported this policy. I do support an approach to municipal revenue generation that is driven by sound fiscal analysis and allows us to meet the expectations of the community to deliver services, address infrastructure and capital needs all within a fiscally responsible framework.
9. Do you support the mega-hospital location?
I am on record as questioning the location, however, that aspect of the municipal decision-making process was settled by the previous Council. I recognize that the decision around location has been made and respect where we are in that process currently. I continue to have questions mainly with respect to the lack of an infrastructure plan to support the Mega Hospital in Ward 9. My work as Councillor for Ward 9 has been and continues to be to advocate for the interests of the people I represent.
Simply put, from an infrastructure standpoint, we are not ready for hospital to be located at the corner of County Rd. 42 and 9th Concession.
Walker Rd. (where much of the hospital traffic will be) remains unfinished, there is no plan or funds allocated for County Rd. 42 or for Lauzon Parkway. The drainage plan for the area is still being developed. Given the significant infrastructure concerns that we are experiencing in Ward 9 TODAY, and the City’s historically uneven approach to investing in infrastructure aligned with the pace of development and the lack of a comprehensive infrastructure plan to support a massive institutional investment at the location I will not support putting the people I represent at risk.
I look forward to, and will continue to vigorously advocate for a infrastructure plan to support the Mega Hospital in Ward 9.
10. Do you support strong mayor legislation?
Absolutely not, this is atrocious legislation being imposed upon the people of Ontario and I commit to fighting its implementation at every opportunity.
11. Should the city use taxpayers dollars to bring jobs to the area?
Of course, every level of government has a role to play in job creation. Over the course of the last term our Council invested considerable time and resources to the development of the Windsor Works plan, which is an economic development strategy developed through robust community consultation and scrutiny. This strategy provides a series of recommendations for the City to undertake to create the most hospitable environment for investment and economic development.
What’s more, this strategy of being an active partner in economic development has already borne fruit in a major way. Our Council, in concert with our regional economic development partners, Labour and senior levels of government landed the single most crucial investment in our region for over a generation and likely generations to come. The Stellantis/LG EV Battery Plant is a transformative deal for our community that will create 2,500 direct jobs in an emerging, green energy manufacturing sector and up 10,000 indirect jobs across the community. Further it secures our position as a automotive manufacturing hub in North America and will catalyse significant future investment in our community.
None of this happens unless the City of Windsor and our Council were willing to “put skin in the game” and attract the investment. It took real dollars to assemble the land required to host the new facility and a robust tax incentive program to even be considered as a destination for this investment.
I will definitely support the City’s participation in Economic Development initiatives and continue to challenge our regional partners and senior levels of government to be partners in attracting and retaining job creating and sustaining investment.
12. If you are running in a ward with an incumbent who is also running, why is change necessary, and why are you the person to deliver it?
I am the incumbent, in 2018 change was necessary to further advance the issues I have highlighted here already. Together we have been making significant progress implementing that change. I am running to continue the changes we began undertaking then and further, to address the challenges we are facing currently.
13. How many hours per week do you plan to allocate towards council business if elected?
Council, without a doubt is full-time work. I plan on continue to allocate the time required. This could be up to 60 hours in some weeks. This has been and will continue to be my approach.
14. Do you live in the ward you are running for?
I have lived in Ward 9 for nearly 20 years and continue to make it my home.
15. What agencies, boards, or committees do/have you served on, and in what capacity?
Prior to being elected I served as Chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters Windsor Essex. As well I served on Pathway to Potential’s Income Working Group.
In my time as Councillor I have had the opportunity to sit on several Boards and Committees including, The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) as Chair. Additionally, I Chair the Windsor Bicycling Committee and the Transit Advisory Committee, I am a Commissioner for the Windsor Utilities Commission (WUC), Board Member for the Essex Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA), the Housing and Homelessness Advisory Committee, the Community Services and Parks Standing Committee, the Environment and Transportation Standing Committee, the Windsor Essex County Environment Committee. I Chaired the Development Charges Task Force and sit on the Sandwich South Servicing Study Working Group.
16. What person, animal or fictional character should be Windsor’s unofficial mascot?
Interesting question, I have always had a keen interest in Windsor’s natural heritage. Your question has me thinking we could build an entire campaign and series of characters around our ecological history highlighting the various indigenous flora we have in our community…starting with, of course, Roses.